76ers

Sixers-Celtics preseason observations: Balance missing in 110-102 loss

Sixers-Celtics preseason observations: Balance missing in 110-102 loss

BOX SCORE

The second look at Markelle Fultz has to wait as the No. 1 pick sat out of the Sixers’ 110-102 loss to the Celtics on Friday.

Fultz was sidelined by right shoulder soreness. The Sixers changed up their starting five with the substitutions of Jerryd Bayless for Fultz and Amir Johnson for Richaun Holmes. Ben Simmons, JJ Redick and Robert Covington remained in the lineup. 

The Celtics were in regular-season form with a starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford. Even though the Celtics’ roster is deep, the Sixers trailed by just two points at halftime thanks to 52.4 percent three-point shooting in the first half. 

• Joel Embiid missed his second straight preseason game. The Sixers have not announced a date for his return, but Brett Brown is feeling optimistic (not definitive) about Embiid playing opening night on Oct. 18.

“I believe that with the way it’s going now, if it continues and progresses a little bit, if that can be maintained and upped, then I think that we’re going to have enough body of work to be able to play decent basketball,” Brown said of Embiid. “It won’t be completely unorganized.”

• Simmons had eight points (3 for 8 from the field, 2 for 6 from the line), five assists, three rebounds and four fouls in 23 minutes. The Sixers used this game as an opportunity to see Simmons in different defensive matchups. Simmons started off guarding power forward Tatum and then small forward Hayward. Throughout the game he also defended point guard Irving and shooting guard Brown. When it came to offense, he continued to be aggressive at the basket. That aggressiveness also ended up resulting in two charging fouls trying to score against center Aron Baynes. 

• Irving scored a game-high 21 points (including five treys) in 25 minutes. 

• Bayless led the Sixers with 15 points (3 for 5 from three) and five assists. Jahlil Okafor pulled down six rebounds with 11 points off the bench. 

• Dario Saric isn’t the only one “trusting the friendship” with T.J. McConnell. Watch McConnell find Simmons for the alley-oop from halfcourt. 

• Saric (rest), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right knee patellar tendinitis) and James Michael McAdoo (left hamstring tightness) did not play. Brown intends to rest many of his players in at least one preseason game (three remaining). Redick is slated to sit out Monday against the Celtics in Boston. Brown said it is possible Covington could miss that game, too. 

A real fight (not an NBA one) breaks out in Magic win

uspresswire-magic-timberwolves-fight.jpg
USA Today Images

A real fight (not an NBA one) breaks out in Magic win

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Evan Fournier scored a season-high 32 points to help the Orlando Magic break a seven-game losing streak with a 108-102 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

D.J. Augustin added 11 points and three assists in the fourth quarter, when the Magic scored 35 points after trailing by two through three.

Jimmy Butler had 28 points and seven rebounds for the Timberwolves, who had won five straight games by an average of 18.8 points.

Bismack Biyombo had 16 rebounds for the Magic, leading the team with the NBA's worst rebound percentage to a 51-37 advantage.

Fournier and Augustin hit 3-pointers during a 14-4 fourth-quarter run that put Orlando ahead to stay, and Augustin's three free throws with 2:10 left gave the Magic a nine-point lead, the biggest of the game for either team.

Jeff Teague and Karl-Anthony Towns answered with 3-pointers to keep the Timberwolves (29-17) in it, but Biyombo scored five straight Magic points to regain an eight-point lead with 50 seconds left.

A loss would have dropped Orlando (13-31) to the worst record in the NBA.

Magic guard Arron Afflalo and Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica were ejected with 7:58 left in the second quarter when they got into a fight while the game was being played.

Afflalo threw at least one punch in the fight, which came four minutes after both players had been assessed technical fouls (see full recap).

Davis scores 45 as Pelicans top C’s in overtime
BOSTON -- Anthony Davis had 45 points and 16 rebounds to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 116-113 overtime victory over Boston on Tuesday night, ending the Celtics' seven-game winning streak.

Davis, who scored 48 on Sunday in an overtime win in New York, had four points in overtime and blocked two shots for the Pelicans, who overcame a sluggish start to the fourth quarter and erased a five-point deficit in the final few minutes of regulation.

DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 15 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday added 23 points and seven assists. Ian Clark added 15 points for the Pelicans, whose size inside ended up prevailing in overtime when Boston's barrage of 3-pointers stopped falling.

Kyrie Irving led Boston with 27 points and Al Horford had 14 points and nine rebounds. Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown added 16 points apiece for the Celtics, who attempted a season-high 50 3-pointers.

Rather than challenge Davis and Cousins inside, the Celtics lived outside and it cost them in overtime when they went just 1 for 4. Horford's 3-pointer early in OT gave Boston a 107-106 lead and Boston went up 113-110 before the Pelicans away put the game.

A jumper by Cousins cut the lead to 113-112, then Holiday added two more field goals and Boston couldn't catch up from there (see full recap).

Yet another bad break for the Sixers' backcourt

ap-sixers-jj-redick.jpg
AP Images

Yet another bad break for the Sixers' backcourt

The Sixers’ backcourt has taken another hit.

Starting shooting guard JJ Redick suffered a left leg injury in Monday’s win over the Raptors. He will be re-evaluated in approximately 10 to 14 days.

An MRI on Tuesday showed bone edema and a small cortical crack in the fibular head of his left leg. X-rays after the game were negative.

Redick suffered the injury when he made contact with Delon Wright receiving a pass from Ben Simmons. He had an immediate reaction of pain, seemed to try to walk it off down the sideline in front of the Sixers’ bench, then rolled the ball back and headed to the locker room. Wright was whistled for a foul.

Redick has been a key piece to the Sixers’ 6-2 record since Christmas Day. He has averaged 20.1 points per game and shot 46.4 percent from three during that stretch. 

The veteran has missed four games this season, most recently two against the Raptors on Dec. 21 and 23 because of right hamstring tightness. Jerryd Bayless started in his place. 

The Sixers’ upcoming schedule is unforgiving of injuries. Looking at the approximation for re-evaluation, Redick would miss five games over the next 10 days (at Celtics, vs. Bucks, at Grizzlies, vs. Bulls, at Spurs). Two weeks would span the road trip that begins in San Antonio and includes the Thunder and Bucks (back-to-back).

Redick's injury comes as fellow guard Markelle Fultz is trying to make his way back on the court since being sidelined in late October because of his right shoulder.